Infiniti sports residual value plan
12 January 2012
Author: Rachel Burgess
Successfully increasing brand awareness will be crucial for achieving strong residual values on Infiniti models, according to Andreas Sigl, global director of Infiniti Formula 1.
"There's still more focus on brand investment, which helps with RVs, so that when cars come back there's more return," said Sigl. "You have to earn your way to good RVs and that is not possible when people don't even know what you are."
The brand, which has just signed for two more years as the lead sponsor of Formula 1 world champion Red Bull Racing, hopes the move will help increase Infiniti's sales from 140,000 to 500,000 worldwide over the next five years.
"You need product, retail network and brand investment," Sigl continued. "If you have these three things, it's going to work."
He admitted that the 3.0-litre and 5.0-litre petrol power, which first launched Infiniti in the UK in 2008 were "not necessarily the most suitable engines" but that the firm would "rather start from the top down".
The introduction of diesel and hybrid engines has increased the market for fleet-buying and business sales, said Sigl, but an agreement with Mercedes to provide its four-cylinder engines, expected in 2014, will lower CO2 emissions and further help fleet sales.
In the meantime, raising brand awareness remains at the forefront of Infiniti's goals. In the UK, and worldwide, this includes F1-related events for dealers and investors, including fleet decision-makers.
"A programme could be where we bring them to meet Christian Horner [Red Bull Racing boss] before the race weekend coupled with a product launch, perhaps demonstrated by an F1 driver," says Sigl. "We need to make people know we actually make cars."
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